You may not be aware of it, but today marks the beginning of National Dental Hygiene Month. In October, dental professionals work to bring awareness of habits that can help contribute to keeping our mouths healthy and our smiles bright. And everyone wants to have the best smile possible, right?

At Smile Design Dental, we’ve worked hard year in and year out to serve our patients’ dental care needs. With this blog post, we want to point out a few ways that you can do your part at home to help keep your smile in great shape.

Brush Twice a Day For Two Minutes

Your teeth are the only ones you’ve got, so it only makes sense to keep them clean and healthy. One of the basic foundations of healthy teeth is good, thorough teeth brushing. There are a few key things to remember about brushing:

  • Place your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
  • Brush up and down in short, gentle strokes.
  • Be sure to brush the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of all teeth.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and help freshen your breath.

The easiest way to make sure you’re brushing for a full two minutes is to use a timer, such as on your phone or watch. Divide your mouth into quadrants and brush each quadrant for 30 seconds before moving on. Following this simple routine will help remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Floss Once Daily

We know…this is the one tenet of good oral care that many of us forget about. But flossing is important to remove trapped food particles between your teeth that can cause cavities and gum disease. Without flossing, you’re missing out on cleaning a full 40 percent of your teeth’s surfaces!

Here’s the best way to floss:

  • Begin with about 18 inches of floss. Either waxed or unwaxed is fine, whichever you prefer.
  • Wind most of the floss around your two middle fingers, leaving a couple of inches of floss to work with in the middle.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to hold the floss, then work it between each of your teeth.
  • Use an up-and-down motion as well as back-and-forth to make sure you’re thoroughly cleaning each crevice between your teeth.
  • Gently curve the floss around your teeth to reach just below the gumline, but be careful not to irritate sensitive gum tissue.

Flossing once a day will help remove food and debris that your toothbrush will miss. So, go ahead and just do it!

Rinse Your Mouth For a Healthy Smile

When you brush and floss, you’re not actually cleaning your entire mouth. Biofilm and plaque can thrive on your gums, tongue, and roof of your mouth. That’s why it’s important to rinse your mouth as well at least once a day, preferably at bedtime.

Choose a good-quality mouthwash or rinse that will kill bacteria hiding in places where brushing and flossing won’t normally reach. Be sure to buy a rinse that is alcohol-free, as alcohol has a drying effect and can actually upset the natural balance of saliva in your mouth that helps to rinse away bacteria and food particles.

Follow the directions on the package of the rinse you choose, but rinsing for at least 30 seconds to one minute is best. You’ll help keep your mouth clean and free of dreaded bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Chew Sugarless Gum to Clean Your Teeth

After you eat, pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth and chew for at least 20 minutes. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum stimulates the production of saliva that helps to remove debris and bacteria from your teeth.

Saliva also helps neutralize acids produced by these bacteria and provides disease-fighting substances throughout your mouth. Chewing sugarless gum helps protect the integrity of your tooth enamel, plus it will freshen your breath at the same time. It’s a win-win situation!

Visit Us Twice a Year For a Routine Checkup

No dental care regimen is complete without regular care from a professional. That’s why it’s so important to schedule a dental cleaning and exam at Smile Design Dental at least every six months.

Regular checkups will give us the opportunity to keep an eye on your oral health and spot any minor problems early on before they have the chance to worsen and potentially cause big problems with your smile. If you do happen to develop a cavity or show early signs of gum disease, we can provide quick care to help prevent the need for more extensive dental work later on.

Besides general dentistry such as cleanings, exams, athletic mouthguards, and gum disease treatment, we also offer a full lineup of other smile care services, including:

This October, celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month by working extra hard to keep your smile healthy! Be sure to call us soon at 845-670-5423 to schedule your next routine checkup, too.